Do you find it hard to persist when you’re trying to get in shape?
Many of us have a personal goal – maybe it’s “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get fit” or “I want to start eating healthy again!”
Then we start with all guns blazing – juicing this, and sweating that and basically moving like a lunatic towards our new goal.
And then, about 3 weeks in (it’s nearly always around 3 weeks – I can almost guarantee that), we start slipping back into old habits.
We have a schneakey burger, or bag of crisps, or a few chocolates left out at work. This happens once or twice and next thing we know we’re back to what we think are our “old habits”, and we quit. “That’s it – I can’t do it, it’s too hard, I knew I’d give up eventually” etc. etc. etc.
So now I can give you some good news, and some bad news.
The bad news first – the bad news is that this happens to everyone! I rarely use absolutes, but I promise you it does. The difference is that some people have learned how to manage this and have various approaches and strategies that will help them achieve any goal they want!
So saying “this always happens to me” won’t get you off the hook 😉
And the good news?! The good news is that there are a number of steps that can VASTLY improve your chances of sticking to your goal.
I’m going to give you an outline here – give it a go and see how you get on:
Know what your goal is
This might seem obvious – “my goal is to lose weight, d’uh!” But what amount of weight do you want to lose? When do you want to lose it by? Do you want to lose it for a specific occasion, or is it a long-term goal? Be really clear on what your goal is and you’re halfway there!
Know your Why
This is another seemingly obvious statement, but one that’s worth spending a bit of time on. Let’s say your goal is to eat healthy. So you define your goal – I want to get 5 portions of fruit and vegetables into my diet daily. But why? Is it because this is what you were told by the “powers that be”? Is it because you want to set a good example to your kids? Is it because you know that when you eat better, you feel better? Because when you eat better, you have more energy? Make a note of which of these is most important to you and write it down. This is your motivation
Know your path
So you have your goal, you have your why – so what’s next? The next step is possibly the one that will take the most time but it’ll be worth it. You’ve got to make a plan. We’ll use the fitness example here. You decide you want to get fit.
Your goal? To run 5k in 10 weeks.
Your why? You want to make exercise a regular part of your life so you can lose weight and go running with your friends in the evenings
So how are you going to do that?
This is where a little bit of work is needed. You’ll need a plan.
Luckily, there just happens to be a gazillion couch-to-5k programs out there. So to commit to one of these, you can download the app to keep yourself accountable. You can print it off and stick it on your fridge, and mark each day you complete with a big fat X in red marker to give you that sense of achievement. Otherwise, do up your own plan yourself, with a friend or a trainer. But definitely get that plan together.
Acknowledge the Wobble Week
It’s well known anecdotally that it takes about 3-4 weeks to create a new habit. Without going into too much detail, this is approximately correct.
From research and experience with my own clients, I have seen this trend, this pattern time-and-time again.
So what can you do?
Well in my programs, I call week 4 the “Wobble Week”! That is because the fourth week of ANYTHING new that you start (a new project at work, a new health program, a new hobby…) is the week when the novelty has worn off, you are likely to lose motivation a bit and you start creeping back into old habits.
BUT the good news is that if you can push on through this week, you have formed new habits! If you hit the wall and smash through it, you will definitely reap the benefits.
So the solution?
Be prepared!! You know now that around 21 days in you will start to lose some motivation, and this is where you really need keep focused.
You can do this a number of ways.
If your goal is to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, then take a few hours to meal prep. Batch cook and freeze extra meals so that you won’t be caught unprepared at dinner time. Leave yourself a little trail of fruit snacks everywhere you go – in the car, at work, in the kitchen. That way, your healthy choice will be easier to pick than an unhealthy one.
If your goal is following a fitness program, then get yourself some accountability or support. Arrange to meet a friend for a run one evening so that you have to commit. Pack your gym bag and leave it by the front door.
Maybe you have a weightloss goal. Again, you can hold yourself accountable. Commit to a weight-in on a specific day (either yourself or with a class or trainer), and don’t skip it! Similarly, you can prepare by batch cooking, planning snacks etc. An hour or two out of your week can make all the difference.
So they’re my top 4 tips for avoiding the “Wobble Week” trap. Try them, write them down and let me know your results.
And remember, you can do it – you are as strong, as persistent, as motivated and as capable as anyone to reach your goal. You just need to convince yourself of it sometimes 😉
If you would like to know more about avoiding the pitfalls of Wobble Week, check out my 12 Week Transformation Toolkit program.